Examining the good, the bad and the evolving, Zenith’s Natalie Grant shares her views on the latest ABC circulation figures for the consumer magazine market
The overall picture may look fairly bleak for consumer magazines following the latest ABCs but, as always, there are still some strong performers.
Specialist and children’s titles are again the key drivers of sales growth with news publications like Private Eye, New Scientist and The Week Junior obviously benefiting from the peak of Brexit debate last year.
We can also see the continuing stability of the premium magazines with Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar, plus Conde Nast’s Vanity Fair and Tatler also increasing in total circulation, demonstrating a select audience clearly still appreciates the importance of quality content and increasingly purpose-driven editorial.
Bauer’s fashion title, Grazia, also remains stable in a tough weeklies’ market based on total circulation, thanks to strong cover stars, special issues and an ethical emphasis on topics such as sustainability.
In the more challenging markets, following the sad print demise of Marie Claire, we have seen further significant drops in the younger women’s monthlies with the likes of Elle and Cosmopolitan. However, instead of chasing numbers, Elle is now focused on establishing itself as a true luxury product, in line with Hearst’s overall ‘More for More’ strategy, increasing cover prices and page volumes so consumers get more value for money.
Along with their well-established dynamic distribution strategy, Hearst rightly remain positive about the future, highlighting several period on period increases this time round and consistently strong performers such as Good Housekeeping.
The most positive news of all is that, in the future, the ABC rightly plans to introduce a new ‘brand first’ certificate so they can gather data on publishers’ extended media footprint, including print, digital and also, importantly, social numbers. This move should make a big difference to publishers, agencies and clients in terms of presenting overall brand scale.
Natalie Grant is Group Investment Director, Zenith UK